Archive for the 'Religion' Category



Why Some Christians Don’t Believe In Gun Control: They Think God Handed Down The Second Amendment

BY Herschel Smith
1 month, 1 week ago

The Washington Post, by three sociologists.

We’re now at a point when Americans are killed or injured in a mass shooting almost every month; by some definitions, almost every day. Despite this, resistance to stricter gun control in the United States remains fierce.

As researchers of religion, we know the power of religious identities and beliefs. And so we wondered: How does Christian nationalism influence Americans’ attitudes toward gun control?

In our newly published and freely available study, the connection between Christian nationalism and gun control attitudes proves stronger than we expected. It turns out that how intensely someone adheres to Christian nationalism is one of the strongest predictors of whether someone supports gun control. One’s political party, religiosity, gender, education or age doesn’t matter.

[ … ]

But what is Christian nationalism?

Christian nationalism is an ideology that argues for an inseparable bond between Christianity and American civil society. It goes beyond merely acknowledging some sincere religious commitments of the Founding Fathers.

Rather, Americans who subscribe to Christian nationalism believe that America has always been ― and should always be ― distinctively Christian in its national identity, sacred symbols and public policies. What’s more, for adherents to this ideology, America’s historic statements about human liberties (e.g., the First and Second Amendments) are imbued with sacred, literal and absolute meaning.

I happen to be trained in theology at the graduate level.  This may be the most stolid analysis I’ve ever read, and the lack of theological training of the academicians undermines and renders useless the study they have published.

There are a number of category errors in this commentary, and at the risk of sounding too much like Gordon Clark, I recommend that these folks retake their course work in logic, and specifically that they study Aristotle’s Logic and Metaphysics before tackling some more difficult texts in systematic theology like Hodge, Warfield, Calvin, Shedd and Turretin.

Seriously, this is a supremely dense run of prose and it’s almost impossible to know where to begin.  But let’s try anyway.

God is no respecter of persons or countries or tribes.  That’s over.  He is the creator of the universe and calls all men to account and all governments to His holy law.  It is equally wicked for America, Russia, China, South Africa or any other country to enact gun control schemes.  Indeed, all gun control is wicked.

The Bible does contain a few direct references to weapons control. There were many times throughout Israel’s history that it rebelled against God (in fact, it happened all the time). To mock His people back into submission to His Law, the Lord would often use wicked neighbors to punish Israel’s rebellion. Most notable were the Philistines and the Babylonians. 1 Samuel 13:19-22 relates the story: “Not a blacksmith could be found in the whole land of Israel, because the Philistines had said, “Otherwise the Hebrews will make swords or spears!” So all Israel went down to the Philistines to have their plowshares, mattocks, axes, and sickles sharpened…So on the day of battle not a soldier with Saul and Jonathan had a sword or spear in this hand; only Saul and his son Jonathan had them.” Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon also removed all of the craftsmen from Israel during the Babylonian captivity (2 Kings 24:14). Both of these administrations were considered exceedingly wicked including their acts of weapons control.

Defense of home and hearth is not just a duly recognized right in the Holy Scriptures, it is a solemn duty, something the Almighty expects of men because men are made in His image.  The second amendment is not given from God.  God didn’t write the constitution, the constitution is a covenant between men.  It has blessings and curses for obedience and breakage, respectively, just like any covenant.  It is the agreement under which we have concurred to live together, and that agreement includes the right and duty not only of self defense and defense of family, but the amelioration of tyranny.  It was understood that way by the founders.

Jesus, who wasn’t the Bohemian hippie flower child pacifist he’s made out to be in contemporary culture, demanded that His followers find weapons themselves.  It’s important to remember that this command involved disobedience to the state.  Jesus’ command involved civil (and if necessary, violent) disobedience, thus forcing his followers to become criminals if they followed His command.

… for some evidence, see Digest 48.6.1: collecting weapons ‘beyond those customary for hunting or for a journey by land or sea’ is forbidden; 48.6.3.1 forbids a man ‘of full age’ appearing in public with a weapon (telum) (references and translation are from Mommsen 1985). See also Mommsen 1899: 564 n. 2; 657-58 n. 1; and Linderski 2007: 102-103 (though he cites only Mommsen). Other laws from the same context of the Digest sometimes cited in this regard are not as worthwhile for my purposes because they seem to be forbidding the possession of weapons with criminal intent. But for the outright forbidding of being armed while in public in Rome, see Cicero’s letter to his brother relating an incident in Rome in which a man, who is apparently falsely accused of plotting an assassination, is nonetheless arrested merely for having confessed to having been armed with a dagger while in the city: To Atticus, Letter 44 (II.24). See also Cicero, Philippics 5.6 (§17). Finally we may cite a letter that Synesius of Cyrene wrote to his brother, probably sometime around the year 400 ce. The brother had apparently questioned the legality of Synesius having his household produce weapons to defend themselves against marauding bands. Synesius points out that there are no Roman legions anywhere near for protection, but he seems reluctantly to admit that he is engaged in an illegal act (Letter 107; for English trans., see Fitzgerald 1926).

“Christian Nationalism,” whatever that does or doesn’t mean, has no more to do with this than my dog.  Moreover, if I were a betting man, I wager that God is quite unhappy with America at the moment.

Any nation whose leaders usurp the power and throne of the Almighty by rendering the family and church powerless, which murders more than 70 million babies, which robs from men and women by the power of a badge and gun to redistribute wealth (wealth that God ordains will be redistributed by families and churches), that exists solely based on usury and debt, and which seeks omniscience through spying on its own people, cannot and will not be long blessed by God.

The researchers are counseled to learn theology so that we can keep the length of this essay to a minimum rather than attempt to repair the fault lines in their theoretical framework.

No one I know, and likely no one you know, believes that God handed down the second amendment or anything else contained in the constitution.  This dumbing down of thoroughgoing and full-orbed world and life views into jingoistic nonsense and word salads is insulting and worthless.

There are reasons that Christians believe in the ownership of weapons, and they have nothing whatsoever to do with belief in Christian nationalism.  God may decide to demolish this country on a bed of rocks with a mere breath, and if He does, we’ll have to start over.  Either way, His holy law stands forever as immutable truth because it is based on his immutable character, and the degree to which He blesses any such new country will be a direct linear function of obedience to His holy law.

To the “researchers.”  Go back to school and learn something.

Comment Of The Week

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

Bill Foster:

The National Association Of Evangelicals seems a lot like a front group. How widely known is it that Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink/Family Policy Alliance political arm gets money form the Koch brother’s Freedom Partners? All this started once Focus on the Family’s board pushed out James Dobson. They got soft on sodomy and went all in on unlimited immigration, illegal and otherwise. In the case of Focus on the Family it seems to be all about the money. Remember, Satan is the great deceiver. Too many Christians today are being deceived by these Judas organizations and their leadership. Sadly it is the failings of the Christian Church in America that has opened the door for the fall of this once Christian country.

No.  I didn’t know that about Focus on the Family and James Dobson.  How sad.  It has become far too easy for “Christians” to compromise their faith, and when they do that, they aren’t really Christians at all.  They’re just imposters, and should be excommunicated and shunned as such.

National Association Of Evangelicals Wants Open Borders

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 2 weeks ago

NAE:

Dear Mr. President:

As evangelical leaders representing tens of thousands of local churches, campus communities, and ministries we are concerned that the new “zero tolerance” policy at the U.S.-Mexico border, recently announced by Attorney General Sessions and being implemented by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security, has had the effect of separating vulnerable children from their parents. As head of the Executive Branch of the federal government, we are writing to ask you to resolve this situation of families being separated that you have rightly described as “horrible.”

As evangelical Christians guided by the Bible, one of our core convictions is that God has established the family as the fundamental building block of society. The state should separate families only in the rarest of instances. While illegal entry to the United States can be a misdemeanor criminal violation, past administrations have exercised discretion in determining when to charge individuals with this offense, taking into account the wellbeing of children who may also be involved.

A “zero tolerance” policy removes that discretion—with the effect of removing even small children from their parents. The traumatic effects of this separation on these young children, which could be devastating and long-lasting, are of utmost concern.

U.S. law currently allows individuals with a credible fear of persecution to request asylum whether the individual enters with a valid visa, requests asylum at a port of entry, or is apprehended seeking to enter without a visa. Not every individual arriving will merit asylum protection, but we would ask that families be kept together while ensuring each individual asylum seeker is afforded due process according to our laws.

We are also concerned that there are fewer legal possibilities for those with a well-founded fear of persecution to be considered for refugee status without needing to make it to the U.S. border. The U.S. Refugee Resettlement Program has allowed many fleeing persecution in Central America and elsewhere to register as refugees abroad and be thoroughly vetted before coming lawfully to the U.S. However, with significantly fewer refugees being admitted in recent years, there are fewer options for those fleeing persecution. Those facing legitimate threats to their lives often feel they have no choice but to leave their countries and seek asylum elsewhere.

We respectfully ask you to work with Attorney General Sessions and Secretary Nielsen to reverse this “zero tolerance” policy and instead urge law enforcement entities to exercise discretion to protect the unity of families.

This is what happens when spiritual “leaders” no longer believe in the applicability of God’s law to individuals.  The state becomes responsible for everything, including administering grace rather than justice.  No mention is made of the fact that illegals are law-breakers.

And this is what happens when the church “leaders” no longer believe in the power of the Holy Scriptures to effect world-wide change.  It becomes anemic and powerless.  Thus church “leaders” begin to meddle in the affairs of state and turn globalist rather than focus on the preaching and teaching of the Word of God.

Say, you don’t suppose all of this will have any effect on second amendment rights, do you?

The Second Amendment Had Nothing To Do With Slavery

BY Herschel Smith
2 months, 4 weeks ago

Stephen Halbrook:

For 20 years now, a well-meaning law professor has been peddling the fiction that the Second Amendment – guaranteeing the right of Americans to keep and bear arms – was adopted to protect slavery. He first proposed this in a 1998 law review article and trotted it out again in a recent New York Times op-ed.

The trouble is: It’s untrue. Not a single one of America’s founders is known to have suggested such a purpose.

When the Redcoats came to disarm the colonists, the American patriots relied on the right to “have arms for their Defense,” as stated in the English Declaration of Rights of 1689.

In 1776, Pennsylvania declared: “That the people have a right to bear arms for the defense of themselves, and the state.” Vermont copied that language in its constitution, which explicitly abolished slavery. Massachusetts and North Carolina adopted their own versions.

When the states debated adoption of the Constitution without a bill of rights in 1787-88, Samuel Adams proposed the right to bear arms in Massachusetts’s ratification convention. The Dissent of the Minority did so in Pennsylvania, and the entire New Hampshire convention demanded recognition of the right.

There was no connection to slavery in any of these historical antecedents.

In his articles, Professor Carl T. Bogus of Roger Williams University speculates that George Mason’s and Patrick Henry’s demands in the Virginia ratification convention could have been motivated to protect slavery. Not so.

Mason recalled that “when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised … to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them.”

And Patrick Henry implored: “The great object is, that every man be armed.” The ensuing debate concerned defense against tyranny and invasion – not slavery.

New York, North Carolina and Rhode Island joined in the demand for what became the Second Amendment. The right to bear arms had universal support.

I’ve seen those claims before and dismissed them as the trivial contrivances they are.

The problem is that men tend to see history through their own eyes and the context they have in post-modern America, even if that isn’t the way historical studies works.

It’s also very difficult to understand American history without the framework of continental Calvinian doctrine and polity, and an understanding of the proper relationship of the three institutions ordained by God, i.e., state, church and family (Gary North also includes economics, or in other words, the market).  You can add the fourth if so inclined.

Balance between institutions means implementing covenant in all of its blessings and curses.  It means not allowing one institution to usurp the authority of God over the other institutions, and that necessitates something like the second amendment.

It wasn’t anything so pedestrian as slavery that created the second amendment.  It was a necessary doctrine in a nation to be founded on Biblical principles, albeit imperfectly.

Honest men understand that and use it as a framework to understand American history.  Dishonest men and imbeciles make up their own shit just because.

LDS And Jehovah’s Witnesses On Guns

BY Herschel Smith
3 months, 3 weeks ago

The Salt Lake Tribune, written by Robert Rees who teaches religion at Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, Calif., where he is director of Mormon Studies.

But no matter how much research we do or how much support we drum up to support our own prejudices about guns, we are likely just to go on shouting slogans at each other. Until we are able to permit one another’s views, we will continue to see only so far as the inside of our own heads — and reason only so far as defending our own axioms.

But even if we were able to agree on one another’s axioms, our fellow Americans and fellow Mormons are still likely to make their crazy faces when the conversation is about guns.

This is partly because of the tragedy of those nine kids and a teacher dead in Texas, and the desire many of us have to find a reason, a scapegoat, to bear our shame in a world so existentially dangerous and without moral certainty. And partly it’s because those committed to “the gun culture” consider any modification of law that may limit the omnipresence of guns to be an attack on life, liberty and the American way — not to mention God, Mormon history and tradition.

There is no doubt that the LDS takes a strong and unbending position against firearms except in the hands of law enforcement.

LDS Church policy restricts “lethal weapons” at church.

“Churches are dedicated for the worship of God and as havens from the cares and concerns of the world. The carrying of lethal weapons, concealed or otherwise, within their walls is inappropriate except as required by officers of the law,” the Mormon church says on its website, lds.org.

So do the Jehova’s Witnesses.

How a Christian chooses to protect himself, his family, or his possessions is, of course, largely a personal matter, as is his choice of employment. That said, Bible principles reflect God’s wisdom and his love for us. Out of regard for those principles, spiritually mature Christians choose not to keep a firearm for protection against other humans. They know that true and lasting security comes to those who demonstrate trust in God by living in harmony with Bible principles.​

During the great tribulation, Christians will rely on Jehovah and not try to defend themselves.

It’s truly a shame because were these folks more open minded and cared about proper exegesis of the Scriptures, it’s trivial to make an unassailable Biblical case not only for the right of self defense, but the duty to defend not only oneself but other lives as well with every means possible.

The first writer I quoted, Robert Rees, mentioned a world without “moral certainty.”  It’s no wonder that the LDS is screwed up with professors who are morally uncertain.  Moral certainty, sir, comes from the law-word of almighty God, found in the Holy Writ, and of that, I’m quite certain.

The Crusader

BY Herschel Smith
5 months ago

Via Matt Bracken, Gab.

Muslim Street Prayers In France

BY Herschel Smith
5 months ago

That’s what it looks like in France today.  You can develop your own timeline for America.

St. Louis “Clergy Of The Dead” Speak Out Against Guns In Churches

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 1 week ago

St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Religious leaders across denominations spoke out in St. Louis on Wednesday against pending legislation that would allow concealed weapons in places of worship in Missouri without permission of the clergy.

“The bill would broaden Second Amendment rights at the expense of the First Amendment right of religious liberty,” said Most Rev. Robert Carlson, archbishop of St. Louis, who presides over some 500,000 Roman Catholics in the region.

Carlson was joined at a press conference by eight religious leaders representing the Jewish, Episcopalian, Methodist, Baptist and Evangelical Lutheran faiths, among others.

The clergy members specified opposition to one bill in particular: House Bill 1936 which would expand the places where concealed weapons are allowed.

The bill has passed two House committee votes along party lines. Republicans voted yes. Democrats voted no. The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Jered Taylor, R-Nixa, did not immediately return a request for comment Wednesday.

The legislation aims to end “gun-free zones” where concealed weapons are restricted, including places of worship, college buildings, public hospitals, voting polls, amusement parks, casinos and bars.

[ … ]

Under current law, a person must get permission from a member of the clergy at a religious institution in order to carry a weapon into the place of worship. The new law would allow for the legal carry of a concealed weapon unless a sign banning weapons is prominently displayed.

What a strange thing.  The law doesn’t mandate that churches allow weapons, and since this is private property I support that because I support property rights.

What the law does is force them to post since this property usually comes with understood open invitations to join the services.  In other words, the “clergy” here doesn’t want the public to know their position, or at least be forced to wonder.

Perhaps they also don’t like the fact that in an ironic twist they are announcing the fact that they have decided to leave themselves without protection of any kind and thus a shooting gallery for would-be perpetrators.

I think it’s a wonderful thing that congregants and parishioners can now tell if they should enter at their own risk as soon as they set foot on the property.  I think it’s sad that the rest of the folk have been left with no protection.

These clergy aren’t clergy at all.  The churches are open sepulchers with dead men preaching to dead congregants.  They have no wisdom, no discernment, and couldn’t care less about the law of God, the pinnacle of which is the law of love, or protecting and caring for those around you.

Night Of Terror For Christians In Cyprus After Attack Of Muslim Migrants

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

Voice of Europe:

Wednesday night, about 20 Muslim migrants attacked a Christian congregation outside St. Mary’s church during the holy liturgy in Leukosia, Greece’s Pronews reports. 

Most of the Christians were inside the church when 20 Muslims suddenly arrived at the temple’s yard and began screaming, cursing, and beating the attendees.

According to statements given by locals at Sigma live news, one of the Muslims was waving an adze and tried to use it against members of the congregation. The Muslims disappeared after the police, called in by the terrorized believers, appeared on the scene.

The people of Cyprus live in agony, as the Orthodox Easter will be on the next Sunday. No one knows if a similar accident will happen again.

Europe is lost.  We all know that.  Christians have been led to the slaughter by their leaders who flooded the continent with savages, and who either never let them arm up or demanded that they disarm.

This is what happens.  The coming chaos and terror for Christians is unavoidable and nothing can be done to stop it.  They cannot even defend themselves.

As for Christians in America, there are many subdivisions, but the two most dangerous and debilitating are [1] those who believe that Jesus is returning to remove them from the chaos and set up a reign in Jerusalem, and [2] those who believe that Jesus called on them to be pacifists.

I don’t believe either one of the two positions.  There has never been a time in church history where God allowed His people to refuse to be salt and light, let the culture around them go to hell, and then snatch His people out of the trouble they caused by their recalcitrance.  There are consequences to disobedience, and those consequences create a wake of consequences for others.  We sleep in the bed we make.

And we’ve dealt with this ridiculous notion that Christ called on His people to be Bohemian hippie flower child pacifists.  It’s wrong, and dangerously so.  Holy warriors, armed and dispensing death to invaders, murderers and rapists is a much better example to follow.

But the two categories of Christians I mentioned are sleepwalking into catastrophe and slaughter.  They may wake up to find that their daughters are being raped when they don’t wear head cover, and their sons are being recruited for jihad.  Wake up, ye church.  Wake up from your slumber before it’s too late.

How The Religious Right’s Second Amendment Rhetoric Has Pervaded The Gun Debate

BY Herschel Smith
5 months, 2 weeks ago

RightWingWatch:

Earlier today, Kyle wrote about right-wing pastor Chuck Baldwin’s recent assertion that it is a “biblical requirement” that every person own an assault weapon like an AR-15 and that Christians who don’t do so “have denied the Christian faith.”

Baldwin’s comments were eyebrow-raising, but fit in a pattern of the Religious Right’s attempts to rewrite American history and reinterpret the Bible to argue that not only the Constitution but God Himself requires unrestricted access to weapons of war.

We’ve put together a video showing some people who have made this argument, from Gordon Klingenschmitt, who insists the Bible says “all the citizens ought to be armed so they can defend themselves against left wing crazies,” to Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin, who has said that when Jesus returns he’ll be carrying an AR-15.

And of course the video includes David Barton, the Religious Right’s favorite purveyor of bogus historical arguments, claiming that the Founding Fathers called the Second Amendment “the biblical right of self defense.” (Barton also believes that the Second Amendment guarantees every citizen’s right to own a fighter jet.)

As Americans debate gun law reform after the mass shooting at a Florida school earlier this year, the Religious Right’s influence on the conservative movement’s rhetoric about guns is often overlooked. But as the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre made clear when he spoke at CPAC this year about the unrestricted right to bear arms being “granted by God to all Americans as our American birthright,” the Religious Right’s language on guns has become a pervasive part of the Right’s rhetoric around the Second Amendment.

Well, Mr. Baldwin wasn’t careful enough.  I’d say that defense of home and family is a Biblical requirement, but I wouldn’t say that the Scriptures dictate what weapon you use.  We mustn’t go past the Holy Writ in our pronouncements.

As for the notion that the founders believed that self defense was a Biblical idea, they certainly did.  We’ve seen already how the Calvinian doctrine of covenant was pervasive in the founders’ charges against the King and the early days of the colonies.  All this “Right Wing Watch” has to do is a little study and they can come up with something better than this silly article.  We have also seen how the Scriptures support, and even demand self defense as the apex of obedience to God’s law of love.

So if you need scholarship, don’t turn to something like the Right Wing Watch, whatever that is.  Hey, now that I think about it, how do I draw the attention of these creeps?


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